(PHILADELPHIA, Pa.) — NEWS: “There is no excuse for single use,” claims Danielle Alura, Elite Miss Pennsylvania. With all the various ways we create waste in our daily lives, our businesses, and our government, the tourism industry is one of the most wasteful veins of our society. While hotels have many ways they create waste, Danielle Alura decided to focus on the plastic waste we luxuriously call toiletries; the little convenient bottles we love to use, toss and forget about.
They are basic staples for hotels, but they’re one of the biggest thorns in the side of mother nature. In ten months, she steamrolled her cause and in a prize two weeks made a dent in her region’s waste… a dent in the form of 10 tons!
This wasn’t done by a huge conglomerate who specializes in hauling and recycling… it was simply a young lady passionately determined for change…her name is Danielle Alura. Danielle grew up in a large loving Italian family. Being one of four children adopted from four different families, her mother and father pridefully raised each of them much differently than the other kids in their neighborhoods vying for designer tote bags and the like. Heavy in hand-me-downs to teach them appreciation, gardening for the benefits of a green thumb, driven by extreme couponing for the thrill of the deal… they learned in the best way that “status quo didn’t mean it was the way to go.”
Gaining a love for volunteering through being active with her church, she quickly became involved with their new monthly event: the Family Promise Organization for homeless families. Family Promise is a national charity that rehouses homeless families with a 90% success rate of breaking the cycle, on average accomplishing this in about 42 days.
Over the years of volunteering coast to coast, she worked her way up from volunteer to the Chair of the event committee, Board Secretary, and also the Board Vice President of Family Promise of Orange County. She successfully beat all fundraising goals organizing events live and virtual, as well as threw the organization’s first successful golf tournament. Even during the pandemic’s first lockdown, Danielle helped spearhead yet another virtual 24-hour capital fundraiser, doubling the $40,000 goal to over $80k by adding artificial intelligence marketing to the charity’s reach. Alongside a dedicated board and generous networks, she has personally raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for homeless families since 2016.
This has broken the cycle and rehoused over 300 homeless families while helping teach them to save money by living more sustainably, budgeting better, shopping smarter, cooking meals for less cost per plate, honing their interview skills for better occupations, tutoring their children for better grades and therapy for keeping a clear mind while improving their well-being for the future. All this while making sure they have the tools to never, ever be a paycheck (or two) from homelessness ever again.
Danielle loves to spend her free time cooking with her family, (her Grandpa is 102 years old!) hiking, foraging, painting, writing original music and learning new things. As a singer songwriter, she recently released her first single and music video called “Can You Hear Me”; on the day of its release, the single was bestowed with highest compliments from international music blogs comparing her earth song to other A-List artists green messages. Look out for her next single being released this month!
That’s not all she did during the lockdown. The fact that her grandfather is 102 and definitely cannot risk running errands during this time made her think of how many elderly need more help than ever. Her instincts proved true: the Meals on Wheels for elderly in the area was very low on volunteers to deliver the meals daily to their respective routes. Sympathizing with the reality that someone just like her grandad is out there but has no one to help, she put on her mask and gloves on and took a few routes for as long as her free time allowed.
In addition, as we mentioned learning is her favorite activity, she became a certified Beekeeper through Penn State University during lockdown on another sliver of the free time she carves out of her day. She has since helped a honey bee back from the dead by spoon feeding it sugar water for energy and nutrients to fly back to its hive!
The artist in her is what led her to act, model and sing. This past November, Danielle Alura graced the cover and editorial of VZSN Magazine. She has been fortunate enough to travel the world as an entertainer but another problem stood out to Danielle; there was trash and pollution everywhere. Today’s world is full of uncertainties. There is less than ten years to spare before we are past irreversible markers due to carbon emissions in our atmosphere. Instead of taking action and making a difference, we are still gazing at celebrities’ selfies and distracted by various screens and media.
“I’ve traveled to over 45 countries, 9 last summer alone because I wanted to see the beauty of the planet. I’ve never tried scuba-diving before, so I figured what better place than to do so in the Galapagos and see some of the rarest species on the planet. I had heard the most beautiful yet untouched tropics were the island of Samoa in French Polynesia so I went to both and found the rumors are true, they have few tourists and unexplainable sunsets and rare giant coconut crabs. For the love of hiking I went to Japan and was in awe at their respect for cleanliness and the environment. But this respect wasn’t universal.”
After traveling the world and getting tired of seeing the same trash – no matter the location – she wanted to inspire not only individuals, but also companies, and even governments to function more economically and help make our planet be a healthier home for many decades to come. Danielle is a member of the UNA-USA, the United Nations of Greater Philadelphia’s event committee and a member of the Coalition for Peace Action. Lobbying for the environment and for equality, here’s where she won the title of Elite Miss Pennsylvania and her platform was born: “No excuse for single use.”
But why a pageant? Upon her research of how to make a difference as a community leader for the environment, she found Miss Earth USA Organization whose passions align perfectly with hers. They set goals, deadlines and various competitive instances to encourage their leaders to make as much of a difference in their community as possible. One of their favorite mantras: “Think Global, Act Local”.
“I’ve experienced adversity to most of the dreams I’ve had. When I wanted to model I’ve heard ‘you’re too short.’ When I wanted to act I heard ‘you started too late.’ When I wanted to pole vault I heard ‘we don’t have the budget to get you a pole for your weight’ and I made the state championship 4 years in a row with the poles available to me anyway with little to no bend. Tackling single use plastics in an industry that thinks they’re a staple is just another time I’ve proven people wrong, and it’s one of my proudest moments during this year. In fact, go ahead…tell me something I can’t do and I’ll thank you for fueling me.”
She’s representing Pennsylvania as Elite Miss Pennsylvania Earth at the Miss Earth USA Pageant in Orlando on the 17th of January. With her title, Danielle advocates for climate change and educates individuals, elected officials and organizations to learn about the simple steps they can take to lead a zero waste home through her video series. Her virtual green events she has hosted with the United Nations have been picked up and broadcasted on TV by Philly Cam channel and has run and rerun since June! This has opened the door for her to star in her own “green” TV show coming soon!
After networking and throwing virtual and socially distant events based on humanitarian, racial and environmental topics, Danielle has recruited more than 25 hotels to pledge against plastic. This has prevented more than 10 tons of plastic and fabric waste from landfills, one plastic waste pickup even required four 26′ trucks! Her simple solutions are broken down to 5 suggestions: reduce it, replace it, bulk it, solidify it, and suggest it. Aka choose at least one of the following: Reduce the amount given out, replace it with greener options, install a bulk dispenser, change to a solid soap bar, or suggest customers take the soaps with them to finish and then recycle them.
For greener health for cleaning routines, www.VIPsupplystore.com is also Danielle’s effort to combat microbes and viruses while being environmentally safe. These products protect the people of our planet with regular eco-friendly chemical-free cleaning options for your home and rid your home of the toxic cleaners favored by omnipresent marketing.
After all this work you may be thinking, well what is the reward? Meanwhile, The Coalition for Peace Action And the United Nations Greater Philadelphia awarded her the 2020 Olive Branch Certificate of Recognition for her efforts to build a Green Economy and to resolve economic and racial inequities in our society.
As if what she does already isn’t enough, Danielle works as a humanitarian director for Voice4Impact, a woman owned B Corp that uses artificial intelligence to predict and prevent crisis in all categories; i.e., whether you are in a natural disaster, attending a concert, school, a protest, a victim of human trafficking, refugee of a war (and much more) with their predictive asset technology they ensure safety and security when called upon.
Then there’s those 10 tons. Some of it was recycled, some of the linens upcycled, some downcycled, and the bulk of it was redistributed to our most vulnerable populations including those in homeless shelters and seniors. The first thing homeless individuals need when they seek shelter is soap. The first thing any of us need for safety in this current world, is soap and sanitizing. Soap saves lives, especially right now in a pandemic. Upon preventing waste, Danielle has also created a network to redistribute much needed resources to those that have-not from an industry that seems to always have too much. All while keeping those pesky plastic particles from winding up in our air, our waterways, our soils, and ultimately our dinner plate.
Privileged with the honor and responsibility of creating lasting change and awareness, it’s no surprise she has already done very well amongst the Miss Earth USA organizations encouraging goals.
Can you imagine if each of us spent a little more time each month on adopting a green habit to add to our routine? How beautiful our future would look! Right now we’re in the middle of a health crisis, a potential economic crisis and we’re definitely behind on dealing with the earth crisis at hand if we don’t get our act together. Recycling just simply isn’t enough. If one passion project can get this much waste prevented from our region’s landfills, imagine how much healthier we would be if we simply took preventative measures every day. It starts with us. Then, we must be joined by the businesses and governments around us to accomplish the true change our earth depends on and that which we need to flourish for generations to come.
“There’s no excuse … for single use … if not? Reduce!”
Join Danielle’s green army or just learn a few interesting things along the way by following her at https://www.facebook.com/elitemisspennsylvania or Instagram @elitemisspennsylvania.
Tune in to the pageant happening in Orlando on January 17, 2021. Tickets and streaming information can be found on http://www.missearthusa.com/.
Related link: https://www.facebook.com/elitemisspennsylvania
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